Are you heading to Tasmania’s capital but unsure what to do there? This trip planner highlights all the best things to do in Hobart in two days.
It only seemed fitting that at the end of my 8-night road trip around Tasmania, its capital city, Hobart, would be my final port of call. Hobart is located on Tasmania’s east coast and is the perfect place to start or finish a trip around the island as it is close to Tasmania’s airport.
It is a small city compared to the likes of some I visited during my 6-weeks in Australia, like Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne, but it still packs a punch and is full of natural beauty.
And there are plenty of things to do in Hobart to interest all travellers. Culture lovers will want to visit MONA (the Museum of Old and New Art), while food lovers will enjoy wandering around Salamanca Market. Nature lovers won’t want to miss the beautiful flowers and plants in the Royal Botanical Gardens. And adventurers will be keen to explore the hiking and cycling trails around Hobart.
In this post, I have outlined my Hobart 2-day itinerary, which I hope gives you an idea of what to do in Hobart on a short visit.
Do you need to arrange travel insurance, car hire or accommodation? Please check out my resources page to help you plan your trip.
Useful Information About Hobart
How many days do you need in Hobart?
The question is, how long should you stay in the capital? Two days in Hobart just about gave me a taster of what this delightful city had to offer.
However, four days in Hobart would be the optimal time to spend in the capital to allow enough time to immerse yourself in all of Hobart’s attractions.
I would have liked to do more things in Hobart during my visit. Hiking Mount Wellington or cruising the Derwent River to Bruny Island sounds fun, but there will always be next time. And believe me when I say once you have visited Hobart, you will want to return.
Hiring a Car
If you are flying into Hobart at the start of your holiday, you can pick up a car at the airport and the drive into the city centre will take around 20 minutes.
If you are arriving in Devonport by ferry from Melbourne, you can pick up a car at the port terminal.
I hired my car from Europcar for my road trip around Tasmania.
Driving distances to Hobart from the surrounding area
Devonport to Hobart – 3 hours and 15 minutes
Strahan to Hobart – 4 hours and 15 minutes
Cradle Mountain to Hobart – 4 hours and 15 minutes
Freycinet to Hobart – 2 hours and 30 minutes
Launceston to Hobart – 2 hours and 25 minutes
If you are looking for a place to stay in Hobart, there are many heritage hotels, chain hotels and private rentals. I have detailed one from each price range and also linked to the Booking.com website, which will show a variety of pricing and availability for Hobart properties.
Luxury – MACq 01 Hotel – Each room is linked to real Tasmanian characters ranging from heroes, explorers and inventors, making it a fun place to stay in luxurious surroundings by the waterfront.
Comfort – Hadley’s Orient Hotel – Built in 1834 and heritage-listed, this is Tasmania’s oldest continuously operating boutique hotel. It is located in the Central Business District, close to all the main tourist sites.
Budget – Shipwrights Arms – A heritage pub with rooms built in the mid-19th century and close to Battery Point. The rooms are clean, basic and comfortable and receive a good guest rating.
Booking.com list lots of accommodation in Hobart to suit all budgets. Reservations can be cancelled within 24 hours of arrival allowing plenty of flexibility in your schedule.
Bruny Island Guided Tours from Hobart
If you have the time to experience Bruny island, book a cruise to meet some of the island’s wildlife, including the white wallabies and fairy penguins, and shop for some of the local produce, which includes honey, chocolate, whiskey and wine!
How to Spend 2 Nights in the Historic State of Hobart
Day One – Evening
When plans don’t go quite as planned
There are so many amazing things to see when you visit Tasmania. This means that on a road trip, you may often get sidetracked by the lure of one of Tasmania’s landmark attractions while en route to your next destination. This happened to us on our drive from Freycinet National Park to Hobart.
I had good intentions to arrive in Hobart in the early afternoon and head straight out to visit MONA.
I then realised I could squeeze a visit in to see the Port Arthur Historic Site on the way, even though it was an hour’s drive past the highway turning to Hobart.
Nevertheless, I did it. I had an incredible time at Port Arthur but arrived late in Hobart, so plans of visiting MONA were dashed.
Checking out Glebe
It was late once we had checked into our accommodation, so instead of heading to the main Hobart tourist attractions by the waterfront, we decided to walk around the area we were staying in, called Glebe.
What we didn’t expect as we were out walking was for the city to be so hilly. It felt like we were in San Francisco, so when I parked the car, I checked twice that the handbrake was on properly – no rolling down the hills for our hire vehicle!
As it had got late, any notions of walking to one of the restaurants in Hobart CBD were gone, so after a quick stop in the supermarket for provisions, we settled ourselves into our new home for the night. We had concocted our own dish during our road trip around Australia, and it was our go-to when arriving somewhere late.
Dom and Angie’s Road Trip Recipe – one cooked chicken (you’ll always find a whole hot cooked chicken in the supermarket), white rice (microwaveable for speed), a jar of green Thai curry sauce (not paste) and a tin of sweetcorn. It may sound basic, but boy, is it tasty!
A visit to Port Arthur is on most Hobart travel lists and is a unique thing to do in Hobart during your stay. It will take approximately one hour to reach by car. You will need at least 2-3 hours to see all of Port Arthur’s attractions.
Day Two – Morning
Hobart Historic Waterfront
Hobart’s waterfront is a great place to visit, and Constitution Dock is home to fishing boats, personal yachts and, when we were there, an international cruise ship moored in the harbour!
You will find restaurants along the waterfront, including Franklin Wharf and Brooke Street Pier and plenty of seafood stalls.
You can also visit the historic buildings that house Hobart’s museums, including the Maritime Museum of Tasmania and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG), the second oldest museum in Australia.
Exploring Salamanca Place
Undoubtedly, the most well-known area in Hobart is Salamanca Place, where the famous Salamanca market is held on Saturdays.
Lining Salamanca Place, you will see a range of early 19th-century Georgian sandstone warehouses. These historic port-side buildings once stored wool, grain, whale oil, fruit and imported product. Now they are home to restaurants, galleries and souvenir shops, and some very interesting sculptures!
We decided to stop at San Churro Chocolateria for a mid-morning hit of chocolate, and it was delicious.
Afterwards, we looked around the shops and found a place to sit in Hobart’s Parliament gardens to people-watch. A few shaded seating areas are a welcome relief in the day’s heat.
Exploring Battery Point
Taking the steps from Salamanca Place, we took the “Kelly” steps (named after the Australian explorer James Kelly) up to Battery Point, the most historic area in Hobart and one of the most charming. Here you will find artisan shops selling Tassie handicrafts and antiques, organic cafes and local bakeries.
Enjoy smoothie bowls made with local produce, superfood lattes, and gluten-free treats at Kombi and shop in Le Circus de Dragonfly for a souvenir to take home.
Battery Point is Hobart’s most affluent suburb, and Arthur Circus is a ring of renovated historic cottages now used for residential and holiday homes. If you want to stay in one, you can find rentals on Airbnb.
Nearby NARRYNA is a merchant’s house that is open to the public and tells the story of early colonial life in Hobart.
Day Two – Afternoon
A stroll around the Royal Botanical Gardens
As someone who loves gardens, I couldn’t resist visiting the Royal Botanic Gardens in Hobart, which feature in my post on the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world. It was a joy to wander around the gardens and discover the planting, ponds, bridges, and sub-arctic greenhouse – the only one of its kind worldwide.
The gardens are easily reached from Hobart by car or on a city tour, or if, like me, you like a good walk, you can head towards the area known as the Queens Domain and reach the gardens from there.
Be aware that the Queens Domain is mainly grassland and was entirely empty apart from a few dogwalkers, so while it felt safe during the day, I wouldn’t have wanted to walk through it at dusk or later.
If you are interested to learn more, please read my post on How to visit the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hobart.
Day Three – Morning
Saying Goodbye to Tasmania
The previous night had not been a good experience for me, and it all boiled down to sunstroke. I had woken in the night feeling pretty rough and realised that I had spent far too much time in the sun walking around the botanical gardens, resulting in heat/sunstroke.
One thing to remember is that Tasmania has a thin ozone layer, and the sun hits you much more severely than in the UK or elsewhere in the northern hemisphere. Make sure you wear a hat, keep hydrated, and don’t end up like me.
The last thing I wanted to do was take the hire car back and board a plane when I was feeling so rough, but when you have planned a strict six-week Australian travel itinerary, there’s no time to stop, so off we went. Next stop, Sydney!
Hobart is charming, with many facets to its appeal. It retains a historic feel in places due to its heritage buildings but also has a fun, edgy vibe running throughout the community and the two complement one another perfectly.
For outdoor adventurers, there are plenty of activities to try, and everywhere is walkable in the city so getting around Hobart without a car is easy.
Hobart is the top spot for a weekend trip to Tasmania when the famous Salamanca Market arrives at Battery Point. Remember, the market is only there on Saturdays when planning a trip to Hobart.
Without a doubt, Hobart needs to be part of your Tasmania travel planning. Forty-eight hours in Hobart will give you enough time to scratch the surface, but I recommend at least four days in Hobart if you want to explore all its layers.
Please Pin for Future Travel to Tasmania
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